OIL MAJOR BP has hailed the successful start of production from the Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea, where output is expected to peak at about 165,000 barrels a day by the end of the year.

Discovered in 1998, the field lies 130 miles west of Norway and contains about 100 million barrels of oil and more than 1.5 trillion cubic feet of rich gas.

BP Norway operates the field and has a 23.84 per cent stake. Statoil has a 36.17 interest and the other partners in the field are E.ON and PGNIG Norway.

Rebecca Wiles, managing director of BP Norway, said the Skarv field has an estimated 25-year lifespan and will contribute “significantly to our production growth from Norway and representing an important new source of gas to Europe”.

BP said it plans to invest £6.7 billion over the next five years in Norway and the UK.